Shaka Zulu (1986)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Action, Biography, Drama
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A historical account on the life of the Zulu king Shaka.

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Series cast summary:
 Lt. Francis Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Dr. Henry Fynn (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Lord Charles Somerset (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Fiona Fullerton ...
 Elizabeth Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Lord Bathurst (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Henry Cele ...
 Shaka (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Dudu Mkhize ...
 Nandi (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 George IV (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Prof. Bramston (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Kenneth Griffith ...
 Zacharias Abrahams (10 episodes, 1986-1989)


Framed around Queen Victoria's decision on England's political stance towards the Zulu Nation, this mini-series details King Shaka's rise and fall with mythic detail. Prophecy is mixed with recorded fact regarding Shaka's birth, exile, innovations in warfare, assumption of the throne, building of the Zulu Empire, first contact with Europe and the events that lead to his downfall. Written by Renee Ann Byrd <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Savage Warrior of All Time!


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Шака Зулу  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Based on 'Joshua Sinclair (I)''s own novel "Shaka Zulu", itself based on the oral tradition of the Zulu people. See more »


Somerset: Since he ascended the throne of the Zulus in 1816, Shaka has forged one of the mightiest empires the African continent has ever known... In less than 6 years, his small, insignificant tribe has risen from obscurity and given its name to an all-powerful nation organized into a fearsome military machine. Shaka is known as a mass murderer - a depraved ogre whose thirst for conquest knows no limits. He has deluged his country with innocent blood, disregarding the most sacred ties of affection, ...
See more »


Followed by Shaka Zulu: The Citadel (2001) See more »


(uncredited) (music box)
See more »

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User Reviews

Great innovative series
1 June 2002 | by (The Hague, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

I think this is, unfortunately, a unique series, showing history at least partially from a Zulu perspective, unlike similar movies like Zulu and Zulu Dawn. These movies show history from the colonialists' side and therefore leave a lot of questions unanswered. What were the political and social dynamics of the creation and rise of the Zulu kingdom? What were social relations and even every day like? This series goes a little way in addressing these topics, only a little, but a lot more than any Western television series or movie before it, which is what makes it unique. It wouldn't be misplaced in any modern (high school) class room. Henry Cele is great as the Zulu king to be, the music is great although basically Western, and the story would put any soap opera to shame. Realism is tops, with all the major African players being South African and it being filmed in South Africa. Where it falls down or slows, is when it goes to the more familiar narrative of the colonials, although Edward Fox is good, as always, as is Robert Powell. The series was of course also very topical, because even though it dealt with a war and struggle 108 years earlier, it was also about a fight for freedom and independence that wasn't won until 13 years ago and that is still in the process of being fulfilled.


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